Increasing Your Odds


    Here are seven steps to follow once you've decided to get started:

    1. Get organized from the beginning.

    2. Plan on applying for as many scholarships as possible.

    3. Develop a suite of generic reusable materials (common theme essays – fine tune for each scholarship. Take specific themes and re-use them for other scholarships and school work).

    4. Make and update personal inventory lists:
    a. Extra-curricular activities
    b. Awards won
    c. Service activities
    d. Work experience
    e. Interests and hobbies

    5. Leverage school work and class time (write school essays that can double for scholarship essays).

    6. Contact past scholarship winners for hints on being successful.

    7. Develop a list of potential recommendation writers.

    Do you worry about finding the time to do all of this? The reality is that this is a front-loading process. The most time needed is on the front end, and then it becomes more maintenance. Treat it as an extra-curricular activity! Commit some time to it, and then do it!


    Painting your own portrait: you need to make yourself stand out amongst the others. How do you do that?

    1. Treat each component of the application (essay, list of activities, etc.) as a part of the unified whole, not separate. Each contributes to the overall impression of the application.

    2. Have theme and paint a personal, clear picture.

    3. Be credible.

    Hard work extra hours.

    Overcoming obstacles how you've responded to roadblocks.

    Teamwork completing projects with other people.

    Perseverance those struggles that have helped you get where you are now.

    Individual initiative taking action.

    Passion and enthusiasm your sense of excitement and wonder.

    Responsibility accountability.

    Civic duty how you've given back.

    Purpose reflect on where you want to go and how you will get there.

    Character your ethical and moral fabric.

    If you can demonstrate/present these virtues within your application, you increase your odds with the judges.

    Scoring Points: If you want to rise to the top of the pile of applicants, follow the following suggestions:

    Define each scholarship's ideal applicant and emphasize personal attributes matching this definition.
    Expand upon your strong points.
    Shore up your weak areas (find painless ways to fill in your resume gaps).
    Demonstrate the Golden Virtues.
    Search for clues in the application and determine the motives of the donors.
    Pay attention to the details.
    Look for the unusual (criteria that stand out from other applications).
    Find something within the requirements that will allow you a change to stand apart from the others.